Big fish are on the move as fall begins

RBC — With the official arrival of fall, big-game seasons are at hand for Colorado fishermen, as well as for more-traditional hunters.
Big fish are on the move. Brown trout, mackinaw and kokanee salmon all are feeling spawning urges. All are becoming more aggressive, providing opportunities for catching larger-than-average fish.
Brown trout, common in major rivers across the state, will readily take streamer flies and many other offerings. The lower Colorado, White, Yampa, Gunnison and Rio Grande, among others, are noted for brown trout fishing in late September and October. The South Platte River has spawning runs of brown trout from Elevenmile Reservoir into the “Dream Stream” segment up to Spinney Mountain Dam, and from Spinney Mountain Reservoir upstream as far as the Tomahawk State Wildlife Area above Hartsel.
Many smaller streams and lakes also provide good late-season fishing for browns.
Though generally not as large as the browns, brook trout also are found in many creeks and beaver ponds. What they may lack in size, brook trout make up in their spectacular spawning colors and an angler-friendly attitude.
Mackinaw, the state’s cold-water heavyweights, spend most of the summer in very deep water, where they are accessible only by specialized trolling gear. With the arrival of fall, they move into shallower water and closer to shore, where they are in reach of fishermen using standard tackle. Taylor Reservoir, Jefferson Lake, Granby Reservoir, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Twin Lakes and the Mount Elbert Forebay all have good populations of the lake trout. The Catamount reservoirs on Pikes Peak also have readily accessible mackinaw, but the area closes for the season on Sept. 30.
Tube jigs such as Gitzits, often tipped with a bit of sucker meat, large Rapala-type crankbaits and spoons of the Dardevle variety all are commonly used by lake-trout fishermen.
Kokanee salmon from Blue Mesa have entered the Gunnison River system, on their trek to the Roaring Judy hatchery above Almont.
Area fishing activity:
Elkhead Reservoir — Elkhead’s warm-water fish showed great potential last summer and fall, so hopes are high for good things this season. So far, large numbers of small pike are being caught, smallmouth bass and crappie activity is picking up and even some good-sized trout are being taken. Early morning and late evening seem to be the best times. The size of fish being caught has been a surprise to fishermen. Camping and other activities will be coming on line as construction is completed. The lake surprised many and provided a great opportunity last year. Local fishermen still encourage catch-and-release fishing until the fishery is fully re-established.
Lake Avery — Fishing for rainbow trout slowed with the heat of summer, but should be improving with cooler days. Power Bait and night crawlers are the most popular baits here, but various spoon-type lures and spinners also produce their share of fish.